As we enter a new year, I would like to share with you how your links with LCL will without doubt evolve in 2023. There are three topics particularly close to my heart: sustainability, high-quality services and innovation.

First and foremost: my best wishes for 2023! Let's look forward to a year full of new possibilities and positivity. For LCL, this year brings changes and challenges, but also opportunities. It is clear that last year's energy crisis has forced us to accelerate the transformation of our company. Our focus remains on sustainability, which we want to achieve through our ESG plans. However, we will also further develop our services and invest even more in the physical security of our data centers. It goes without saying that we will continue to expand our workforce to support our growth.

Investments for a sustainable future

“Smart companies are acting now to adapt to a climate that is changing before our eyes. The more energetically business dedicates itself to adaptation, the more society as a whole is helped to adapt and benefit. (…) The effort of adaptation is worth it. Globally, $1.8 trillion of investment into adaptation efforts could generate $7.1 trillion in total net benefits by 2030.”*

According to the World Economic Forum, investing in climate is crucial. Sustainability and innovation are important pillars for LCL, and we will continue to invest heavily in them in 2023. Our backup generators, which will run on HVO100 renewable fuel, are a major process innovation, reducing our emissions by 90%. We are also eagerly monitoring the development of liquid and other types of cooling for our data centers.

Another important topic is, of course, the energy transition, and this year we want to focus more closely on producing renewable energy. For example, we are expanding our solar park at LCL Wallonia One in Gembloux, where we will increase capacity by 65%. We also want to conclude green power supply contracts by 2023, in order to enable us to purchase the full capacity of a local solar park, for example. This would not only help us to switch to green energy more quickly, but also support local initiatives. Many partners are involved in these more complex projects, which undoubtedly signifies an inspiring dynamic in the energy market. Although we already buy 100% green energy today, it would be even better to stimulate energy production in Belgium at the same time.

lcl wallonia one solar park

Delivery of high-quality services

In addition to our sustainability priorities, delivering high-quality services has always been a critical part of how we manage our data centers.

Unfortunately, the improvement of our data centers together with the current economic climate also means that the costs for maintenance and some technical parts that we need to provide the best possible services are also subject to significant increases. As a result, we are forced to adjust the prices in our product catalogue. An up-to-date version of this is available on request.

We also want to adapt the way we work to the latest standards and norms. To this end, we have adapted our Acceptable Use Policy to best reflect clear and efficient collaboration.

The physical security of our data centers also remains a priority. In 2023, we will invest in strengthening our LCL Brussels-North and LCL Brussels-West sites with permanent, physical surveillance.

Finally, we want to continue to strengthen ties with our customers and partners, through events that were already a great success in previous years, such as the LCL North Sea Regatta and the Carrier Event, as well as through personal support and guidance from a further strengthened team of experts.

Innovation to better serve our customers

In addition to optimal relationships and high-quality services, innovation also leads us to challenge ourselves. According to a recent study by Cisco**, respondents to a survey on cloud trends showed a strong interest in a range of advanced technologies that can benefit hybrid architectures, including the deployment of infrastructure automation (49%), edge computing (41%) and composable infrastructure (27%). It goes without saying that we want to contribute to these developments.

One major innovation for this year that I'm looking forward to and which is aimed more towards automation is the arrival of our new customer portal. We have been working on this for years with a dedicated team of colleagues and designers – also in consultation with our customers, of course. This advanced portal will offer a wide range of dedicated data center services in a user-friendly and interactive interface. Customers will be able to submit specific questions and service requests 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and have easy access to detailed customer and data center information, all in one place. This will lead to a major increase in efficiency.

I also expect hybrid cloud usage to explode in the future. As the Cisco study notes, "this hybrid approach enables the organisation to build a more agile and scalable environment (42%) and accelerate innovation across the business (40%)." Currently, a significant amount of data is still hosted in small data centers and server rooms that are outdated and unsustainable. At LCL we feel a great responsibility to play a part in this. That is why we are also focusing on the physical growth of our data centers, in particular at LCL Brussels-North in Diegem, where the planned expansion of the data center offers existing and new customers the opportunity to grow with us.

It will undoubtedly be another exciting year, with developments that cannot be predicted just at the moment. Hence the importance for LCL to constantly adapt so that we can act quickly and appropriately at all times. Progress will also be made this year, although it will not be easy to achieve everything. But that is precisely what drives and motivates me as an entrepreneur to continue building the future of LCL. The possibilities are endless. And the great thing is that the year has only just begun!

(*) 3 ways business can take action against climate change | World Economic Forum (weforum.org)

(**) Cisco 2022 Global Hybrid Cloud Trends Report - Cisco

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